In a huge loss to nation, the son of former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh and the founder of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Ajit Singh died today of COVID-19. The news was confirmed by Mr. Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary on Twitter. Ajit Singh was not only the founder of RLD but was also a 7-time Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, former Indian Union Minister and Minister of Aviation.
As the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc in India, the nation mourns another loss in the form of Ajit Singh. Mr. Singh tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in April and was undergoing treatment since. His condition over the past few weeks deteriorated and he was admitted to a private hospital in Gurugram. After the news of his death broke, several political leaders broke ranks and came together in expressing their condolences.
Statement from Ajit Singh’s family –
“Throughout his life journey, Choudhary Sahib was loved and respected by many. He in turn cherished this bond with all of you and gave his best consideration and efforts for your welfare.
As our Nation confronts this horrific pandemic, it is our humble request to all those who wish to pay their respects, to please stay at home as far as possible. We must observe all safety protocols and keep ourselves around us healthy and safe. This will be the best way to honour Chaudhary Sahib as well as those COVID-19 warriors who are working day and night to protect us.
We pray for solace for all those families that have been ravaged by this brutal disease.”
PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal come together
PM Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi CM Kejriwal and many others took to Twitter to give condolences and express their grief.
पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री चौधरी अजित सिंह जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख हुआ है। वे हमेशा किसानों के हित में समर्पित रहे। उन्होंने केंद्र में कई विभागों की जिम्मेदारियों का कुशलतापूर्वक निर्वहन किया। शोक की इस घड़ी में मेरी संवेदनाएं उनके परिजनों और प्रशंसकों के साथ हैं। ओम शांति!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 6, 2021
राष्ट्रीय लोक दल प्रमुख अजित सिंह जी के असमय निधन का समाचार दुखद है।
उनके परिवार व प्रियजनों को मेरी संवेदनाएँ। pic.twitter.com/m4iZ9SAC93
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 6, 2021
पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री और किसान नेता चौधरी अजीत सिंह जी के निधन की खबर बेहद दुखद। ईश्वर दिवंगत आत्मा को शांति प्रदान करे। मेरी संवेदनाएं उनके परिवार और प्रशंसकों के साथ है।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 6, 2021
I am truly sad that my good friend for over 35 years, Ajit Singh son of Charan Singh died today due to Coronavirus. He was simple and straight forward with me all his life. In the late 1980s and thereafter he held many Ministerial posts.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 6, 2021
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Ajit Singh, former Union Minister and President, Rashtriya Lok Dal.
On behalf of Tamil Nadu, I convey our condolences to @jayantrld, other family members and party cadres mourning the demise.
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) May 6, 2021
Deeply saddened by the passing away of founder & chief of Rashtriya Lok Dal & former Union Minister, Chaudhary Ajit Singh. I was fortunate to work with him as MoS, Civil Aviation during his tenure. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends & followers. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/T1CR7hllUP
— K C Venugopal (@kcvenugopalmp) May 6, 2021
Saddened to learn about the demise of Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh Ji. His contribution to the welfare of farmers and deep connection with people will always be remembered. Condolences to his family members and followers. Om Shanti.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) May 6, 2021
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of former Union Minister & RLD chief Ch. Ajit Singh ji. My heartfelt condolences to @jayantrld. Ajit ji was a a man of the people, & a most helpful & responsive Civil Aviation Minister in the UPA govt. Om Shanti. https://t.co/1atVz4p7xM
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 6, 2021
पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री एवं जुझारू किसान नेता चौधरी अजीत सिंह जी का निधन अत्यंत दुःखद है। उन्हें विनम्र श्रद्धाजंलि।
प्रभु श्री राम से प्रार्थना है कि दिवंगत आत्मा को अपने परम धाम में स्थान व शोकाकुल परिजनों को यह अथाह दुःख सहने की शक्ति प्रदान करें।
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) May 6, 2021
The life and times of Ajit Singh (1939-2021)
Ajit Singh was born in 1939. He was the son of Charan Singh – the first farmer Prime Minster of India and a popular farmer leader. Over the course of his life, he made waves in both political ground and corporate landscape.
IIT Alumnus, Worked for IBM for more than a decade
A Computer Science B.Tech from IIT-Kharagpur and MS from the prestigious Illinois Institute of Technology, US, Mr. Singh was one of the most learned men that worked in the political landscape of India. But before giving his contribution to the Indian masses as a public figure, Ajit Singh work as a computer engineer in USA for more than a decade. Unbeknownst to many, he was one of the first few Indians who was chosen by tech giant IBM to work.
Leaving US, Coming back to India, Never looking back
After the illness of his father Charan Singh, he decided to come back to Uttar Pradesh and entered into the murky waters of politics.
His father’s illness left a huge political vacuum and thus, Mr. Singh jumped into the political waters. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1986. Later, Ajit Singh became the President of the Lok Dal and Janta Dal Party during 1987, 1888. With years he moved up the political ladder and decided to merge Janata Dal and Lok Dal under the leadership of VP Singh and fought against Congress.
Serving under multiple Indian Prime Ministers
In 1989 he was elected as the Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat and the next year he became the Minister of Industry in the then Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s cabinet. He was again elected to Lok Sabha in 1991 and went on to serve as Minister of Food in the then Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao’s cabinet.
In 1996 Singh was elected as a Congress candidate but in a surprising move, he decided to exit from the party. In 1997 he founded the Rashtriya Lok Dal and was re-elected to Lok Sabha. He was re-elected multiple times in 1999, 2004 and 2009.
The nation today mourns the death of a well-educated political leader who inherited the legacy of fighting for farmers and the common man.